Houseplants are so much more than just decoration. These living entities merge harmoniously with your home, body, and mind to enrich the quality of your life. They bring a beautiful garden into the home. While just one lone plant can make a difference in sprucing up a room and increasing fresh oxygen supply, imagine what an entire wall full of them could do for your home. Read on for the inside scoop on the hottest and healthiest architectural trend to hit homes in recent times: green walls! Also known as living walls, or vertical gardens, this ingenious contraption saves valuable floor space and creates a cascading wall of lush foliage right inside your home. Not only are green walls affordable and easy to install and maintain, there are numerous other unexpected benefits that make this ultra-modern addition to home design one you will want to get on top of (or get on top of your wall)!
1. Pick Your Pockets!
While plants thrive in gardens and pots, they also adore pockets. The pocket system is used to create a gorgeous green wall supported by waterproof envelopes, which are comprised of a mix of recycled felt and rubber, and are attached to any wall in your home using screws and fasteners. If you want to do the work yourself, each pocket will run you about $15-60 (they range in price based on size and quality), and you can put up as many (or as few) as you think would suit your space. Two of our favorites, the Mini Wally or Wally Three (seen below) from Woolly Pocket, can be ordered directly from their site or from Amazon.
2. Hang Your Pockets!
Hanging the pockets is as basic as putting up a picture! To begin, simply measure where the holes are going to go, and then mark them on the wall with a pencil. Using a leveler to ensure your pocket doesn’t go up crooked, drill right into the wall, slide fasteners into the holes, and screw your pocket into the fasteners. After hanging the first pocket, building your green wall gets easier and easier, as all you have to do is line up the next pocket with the one beside it or above it. However, be sure to keep using the leveler so that the pocket wall stays straight. You’ll want to space your pockets about 6.5“ apart so that the felt will be covered and the foliage will appear dense, creating a jungle-feel, yet the plants will have enough space to grow and thrive. Voila!
3. Potting the Soil
After the pockets have gone up, they can be filled with potting soil. Don’t fill the pockets too full; the soil level should be even across the top, and about 1 cm below the front of the fabric. For a full green wall, start planting from the top so falling dirt doesn’t damage the plants below.
4. Time to Plant!
Aim to plant towards the back of the pocket to provide maximum water absorption - the pocket’s fabric wicks the water to the roots as they grow through the soil. Some great choices for your living green wall are Golden Pothos, Lipstick Vine, and Spider plants, but up to 20 varieties can be housed in a single wall! Choose a dynamic mix of trailing plants, full leaves, and bright colors. One to five plants can be placed in each pocket - try to match plants with similar needs in regards to soil, food and sunlight. For instance, if some areas of the green wall get more sunlight than others, let that also be a factor in the arrangement of your pocketed plants.
5. Loving and Maintaining Your Greens
Maintenance of your living green wall is straightforward and common-sense. Take a look at the space regularly and assess the overall health of the plants in each pocket. As you would with indoor potted plants, you can prune and trim unwanted branches, dead leaves or overgrowth with scissors or shears, and ensure that your wall is getting the right amount and quality of water. With the pocket system, underwatering can be an issue, as surface water evaporates rather quickly. Due to high salinity and other additives in some areas, your plants may do better with filtered water; rain water is also an option, especially due to its unique, perfect temperature, which plants tend to favour - experiment and see what works best to keep your living green wall sparkling with vibrance. Enjoy!
6. Take a Deep Breath of Fresh Air!
The high density of plants contained in your green wall will dramatically increase the health benefits that home greenery has to offer. Plants by their very nature release oxygen and absorb carbon monoxide, making the surrounding air fresher and more breathable. Also, many products used in the home, such as solvents, cleaners, and paint, can be a potent source of indoor pollution, as they release volatile organic components (or VOCs), which cause a multitude of chronic health problems. Both the leaves and the roots of the plants in your green wall will absorb up to 80% of these VOCs, and are even more efficient than mechanical air filters. The plants will also be a big magnet for dust - indoor green walls virtually scrub the air of toxins!
The Good Stuff Doesn't End There
- The moisture emitted by your green wall will cool the house down in summer, and warm it up during winter, controlling humidity and saving on energy costs.
- The vertical garden actually absorbs sound, helping with noise pollution from traffic on busy streets, not to mention the apartment suite next door.
- A great wall of botanical green energy creates a relaxing environment that will effectively reduce stress, lowering your blood pressure, facilitating concentration and productivity, making you and your home more efficient!